Critical Perspectives In Entrepreneurship

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This essay is intended to present the five core themes in entrepreneurship. The essay will consist of main themes from the lectures and each theme will explore the reflection on the unit themes. The theme will also cover in-depth look of entrepreneurship theories and ideas from the sessions and independent study. Furthermore, the essay will explore some of the aspects that would help in understanding the ideas, concepts, and theories form each topic including the applications of each of the theories into the real-world experiences. Each topic will feature most important aspects from each unit such as the most important theoretical view and key features that were covered in the unit; the advantages, disadvantages from the different perspective of views and the evidence to support the argument along with the methodology, and personal opinion on the particular arguments. The core themes that will be covered on this assessment are what is entrepreneurship for, is entrepreneurship any good, who is an entrepreneur, the where of entrepreneurship, and should of entrepreneurship policy. However, not all ideas from the themes are guaranteed to be covered in the essay due to the limitations for the essay.

What is Entrepreneurship For

Before understanding the role and contribution of entrepreneurship to the society, it would be the best to take a look first on the theories surrounding the entrepreneurship first. The first thing that I think of when looking at the word ‘entrepreneurship’ is someone that take a risk in starting a new business venture which is basically what entrepreneur means. The evolution of entrepreneurship theory was dated way back since 1700s by Cantillon and keeps evolving until 2000s. The focus of the function of entrepreneurship is also different for each perspective. Cantillon described entrepreneur as a person who purchase goods at certain price, and then use those goods to produce another product to be sold at unknown price. The word itself based from the French word ‘entreprendre’ which means the one who takes some tasks or risks. The next step of evolution of entrepreneurship theory is coming from Knight in 1921. Knight stated that supply and demand could not be in the equilibrium due to the other forces that would change the market (Pittaway, 2012). While the market is in constant state of uncertainty, entrepreneurship is one of the ways to adapt to the changes. In this case, entrepreneurship could be seen as a decision to act on unpredictable future possibilities. On 1934, Schumpeter stated on theory of Economic Development about the role of entrepreneur in the economic development (Pittaway, 2012). Capitalism creates and destroy markets, and the development itself is a creative destruction process that urge entrepreneurs to challenge the structures, innovate by creating the new combinations with special traits which causing disequilibrium. In the 1970s, Kirzner stated that entrepreneurship is based on individual alertness to look for opportunities and how they react to them and the entrepreneur themselves are alert decision-makers who could predict and adapt to the changes in the market (Pittaway, 2012). Yet, despite all the theories that stated the connections between the term entrepreneur and business owners, many people still confused whether there is any difference on the entrepreneur and small business owner or not. However, it will be easier if we define the term entrepreneurship as a process of a person that taking a risk rather than defining it as a person that has a business due to the fact that not all business owners are full risk-takers. Not all business owners manage their business themselves directly.

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The role and contribution of entrepreneurship are. In society, entrepreneurship could contribute to the development and growth of the economy through innovation, rising competition, growing productivity, more employment, and a way out of poverty. In the eyes of the government (policymakers), large firms are often viewed as main key to the economic growth of the country while small firms are often viewed as the less innovative and less desirable groups by the government. However, small firms start to gaining more contribution due to their better contribution and performance to the economy.

Is Entrepreneurship Good?

the dominant cultural understanding of entrepreneurship as a positive phenomenon, this theme explores the ‘dark side’ of entrepreneurial theories including the environmental impact and issues of poverty, inequality and crime. The few of the dominant theories that are related to the dark side of entrepreneurships that were discussed during the lectures are related to trait theories, negative personality trait, terrorism as social enterprise is a provocative perspective, and the firm theory. The particular theory that might be interesting is regarding the terrorism as social enterprise. As (Abdukadirov, 2010: 603) suggests that:

“Various studies have employed strategic, organizational and psychological frameworks to understand the motivation behind the formation of terrorist groups…This article focusses on terrorist groups within the framework of entrepreneurship. Similar to traditional entrepreneurs, terrorist leaders devise an organizational structure, attract both human and financial capital, design and implement a strategy and so on.. They seek out new opportunities, take risks and innovate, if only to ensure organizational survival. Yet unlike entrepreneurs, terrorist leaders are not motivated by profits…This article argues that terrorists are social entrepreneurs.”

Identity means identifying who is who or what is what, however it could reflect on a much wider concept with different perspectives. Archer (2000) stated that the concept of identity the self, personal identity, and social identity; and the identity emerges from a body. We cannot be ourselves without having a body structure. Identity is important in entrepreneurship due to it’s role as the main core of ideas or foundation for products and services that we offer to the public. The identity could help entrepreneurs in innovating and helping the company to move forwards ahead of the competition. Different identities means that people have different personality traits regarding the entrepreneurships. Despite the fact that disabled people have more difficulties in getting a job (as shown on the lectures), the evidence on the lecture shown that disabled people are more likely to be self-employed than the non-disabled people. The discussion brings us to the question of who is an entrepreneur, are entrepreneurs born or made, and what is the problems in defining the entrepreneur in terms of personality traits. The lectures mainly focusing on two different perspectives on entrepreneurial identity which consists of personality traits approach and social constructionist approach. The roots of each approach (psychology and sociology) make them different in terms on how we define it. Based on the personality traits approach, some characteristics that are often associated with entrepreneurs such as tendency to risk-taking situation doesn’t mean that it is unique and directly made someone an entrepreneur. Identity is a permanent and stable behavior which basically means that entrepreneurial traits were obtained since born. While social construction approach identifies entrepreneurial process as a changing and adaptable however not everyone is able to be and only up to the certain point in becoming an entrepreneur.

Who is An Entrepreneur

In determining who is the entrepreneur, we will take a look at the two main topics surrounding this particular theme., gender and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial diversity. Gender give us a role on how it shapes entrepreneurial activities and practices. While entrepreneurial diversity plays a role in proving enterprise debates and stereotypes. First, here are one of the theories regarding the gender that stated that it is a relational concept that enables exploration of how women are assigned female characteristics and males are attributed masculine ones, and how ‘doing’ gender is a social practice which positions persons in the contexts of uneven power relations. In other words, it demonstrates how the inequalities in social opportunities are based on differences, and the intention being to prove that gendering is a practice that anchors other practices (Swidler, 2001 in Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio, 2005). In the society, gendered perspective keeps continue to have a big role in entrepreneurial research due to the common bias in the general debates. Looking at women entrepreneurs in general, women often viewed as the less viable option than men entrepreneurs. All the reasons and answers for the gender bias in entrepreneurship debates could be found some based on gendered view of women’s role, embedded in the public and private spheres, historically constructed woman that is better suited to domestic domain, a social construction of the industrial revolution, and the obscured women’s economic activities and practices (Hamilton, 2013). Entrepreneurship is often stereotyped as a place for men and unlikely to be able to avoid the biases that could be generated from eyes of the public.

Another interesting point that could be taken from the particular theme is regarding the intersectionality. Intersectionality is a theoretical approach to explaining how diverse and multiple aspects of one’s identities (e.g. gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc.) might combine to create the lived experiences of disadvantage or privilege (Martinez Dy, 2014). In terms of entrepreneurial diversity, entrepreneurial could be viewed as the way to the employment yet despite that, millions of people (mainly in EU and Britain) still unemployed or looking for the job due to the barriers and challenges that held them back from the employment. The debated that was conducted during the end of lectures weeks provides different views form the groups of support and against of the particular topic such as UK government investment in entrepreneurship support for the under-represented groups and UK public policy support for entrepreneurship and small business value for money.

The Should of Enterprise Policy

The last theme mainly covers the nature of the enterprise policies and more in-depth look at entrepreneurship and SME intervention. This theme is also the basis for the topics of debates that were conducted on the end of the critical perspectives in entrepreneurship class. The topics that were covered on the debates are including the arguments for the support and against the governments intervention in supporting the under-represented groups and support for entrepreneurship and small business owners particularly in UK. A policy is about gaining a result which else would not be obtained but for that policy being in place. It should by this means making any difference. If the same things would happen (or not) irrespective of any specific policy being implemented, then you do not really have a policy (Green, 2014). The term of enterprise policy could be used interchangeably. Entrepreneurship policy: marks the early start-up phase which mainly focuses on the individuals (involving motivations, knowledge, skills), while SME policy mainly aims on the existing population of enterprises which means plainly focus on the firms which involve innovation, growth potential, etc (Arshed and Danson, 2016). However, both terms have similarities in a few aspects. Both terms carry similar long-term vision to improve economic prosperity by encouraging business start-up or growth (Arshed et al., 2014). Government plays an important role in influencing the social and institutional conditions where entrepreneurships happen, and they achieved it through enterprise policy. In the form of enterprise policy, the government plays the roles as the regulator, economic agent, and strategic planner (Bennett, 2012). As the regulator, government play a role in trade regulations, human capital, consumer products safety, business regulations, etc. while as the economic agent, the government play a role in rules such as tax policy, purchasing, etc. Government also takes part in giving subsidies, loans, other supports related to health and education.


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  2. Archer, M. (2000) Being Human: The Problem of Agency, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  3. Arshed, N. and Danson, M. (2016) Enterprise: Concepts and Issues, The Global Management Series, Goodfellow Publishers.
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  6. Bruni, A. Gherardi, S. Poggio, B (2004)Doing Gender, Doing Entrepreneurship: An Ethnographic Account of Intertwined Practices. Gender, Work and Organization. Vol. 11 No. 4 July 2004.
  7. Green, D. A. (2014) ‘What is a ‘policy’ – and what is good policymaking?’, Financial Times, 25 November 2014.
  8. Hamilton, E. (2013). The discourse of entrepreneurial masculinities (and femininities). Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal. 25 (1-2), pp. 90-99.
  9. Martinez Dy, A., Martin, L. and Marlow, S. (2014) ‘Developing a Critical Realist Positional Approach to Intersectionality’, Journal of critical realism, Vol. 13 (5): 447–466.
  10. Pittaway, L. (2012) ‘The evolution of entrepreneurship theory’, In: Carter, S. and Jones-Evans, D., Enterprise and Small Business: Principles, Practice and Policy, 3rd Edition, London: Pearson.


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